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Drug shortage is worsening, governments silent (SPH)

Among the drugs increasingly unavailable or on back-order are those for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and heart failure, writes Dr. Charles Shaver. (Photo Credit: Jacques Boissinot , The Canadian Press)
Among the drugs increasingly unavailable or on back-order are those for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and heart failure, writes Dr. Charles Shaver. (Photo Credit: Jacques Boissinot , The Canadian Press)

Since 2010, a large number of well-established drugs have suddenly been placed on “back-order;” this is worsening in recent months. These include those for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and heart failure. A substitute drug in the same family result in reduced efficacy or different side effects. Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt, former president of the Quebec Medical Association, wrote: “We receive notices every day from pharmacists. It has taken me months to straighten some of the patients out after being obliged to switch meds after years of stability.”

Moreover, if medications are changed within three months of travelling, this could invalidate most travel insurance policies.

The CHA states: “Where the insured health services are provided out of Canada, payment is made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province.” As a guideline, the Ottawa Hospital receives $1,305 daily for a standard room and $4,679 for the ICU from the home province or territory of a visiting patient (the interprovincial rates). The numbers are $1,600 and $6,219 for St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, $1,973 and $6,422 for the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, $4,600 and $6,000 for major downtown teaching hospitals in Toronto, $1,650 and $4,993 for the Montreal General Hospital, and $1,450 and $6,180 for the QEII in Halifax.

Click here to read the full story in the Well and Tribune.

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